Chick Trip 2002
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Today we took it easy in the morning because our afternoon was going to be the adventure of a river raft trip down the Colorado River below the Glen Canyon Dam! We had breakfast at Denny's (they were running their Grand Slam for $2.99 special) and Tam went to the library to check email. Lela went shopping.
We then got to the Wilderness Outfitters Store, around the corner from the Chamber, at about 1:00 PM. We made sure to have our sun block, cameras, and hats! The tour bus left at 1:30 to take us to the base of the dam.
It was kind of cool and creepy at the same time. Due to the tragic events of September 11th, we had to stop at the entrance of the tunnel we were to take to the bottom of the canyon and give over our belongings. These were then searched by park guards. All went well and our belongings met back up with us when we got to the boats.
To get to the base of the dam, we had to be driven on the bus through a long tunnel. Every couple hundred feet or so, there was a ventilation shaft to the outside air. The was the only way to gauge how far down we had gone was to peek through the holes to the outside world.
Here is a better view of the dam, river, and canyon walls. Do you see that suspension bridge that spans the canyon above the dam? There are cars and big trucks going across it right now, but you can barely see them because they are so high up and far away! In fact, there is a semi going across the bridge just above the dam's pylon on the right. Can you see it?
At the base of the dam, we met our boat pilot, Joe. He was a neat guy and told us many stories about Lake Powell, the Colorado River, the Glen Canyon Dam and the many landmarks we passed.
Here we are with the dam in the background. That is Joe, our pilot, standing on the right.
The walls of the canyon are covered with a fine patina that makes them almost look burnt. Joe said there is a disagreement among scientist as to what caused it, but he thinks it is a combination of metals and other matter in the rock and their reaction to pressure and heat over the millennia.
It sure does make some pretty designs though, like giant paintings.
Below is another shot of the canyon walls and a spire of rock that is mentioned in the journals of John Wesley Powell, the first maniac to travel the river.
Before we go any further, we'd like to mention that this is a trip that is meant for adults and older children, or at least kids who are well-mannered and easy-going. We were lucky in that the little people you see on our raft were exceedingly well-behaved and fun to be around.
One of our fellow rafts was cursed with the "child from Hell!" He pitched a fit the entire time, from getting on the bus in the parking lot at 1:30 PM until we got back to that same parking lot at 6:30 PM.
We implore you, do NOT make your child go on a trip like this if they are in the least whiney, especially in the afternoon when they should be napping! And if they are like the little guy on our trip, who kicked, struck, and screamed most of the time even though he was old enough to know better (5 to 7 years old), don't take them on vacation at all! Get yourself parenting classes and the child obedience training!
These little guys on our raft were too funny, especially when Joe made the raft bump over some small waves. Wow! They couldn't get enough. Thanks to their parents, who are raising some nice little people!
About halfway through the trip we stopped at one of the campgrounds in the gorge. Yes, there are campgrounds! You can arrange with the park service to stay in them. Some, like this one we stopped at, have port-o-potties. This whole thing is part of the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and you can learn more about it by visiting their site.
We got off the rafts to stretch our legs in the dry heat...once you got away from the river, it got very hard to keep cool. We had cans of soft drinks, which the raft company provided with the trip. They encouraged us to drink as much as possible. The funky part is that you sweat it all out and don't even have to go to the bathroom! Because it evaporates immediately when it comes out of your skin, you do not even feel sweaty!
Here we are on a trail that led away from the river to one of the canyon walls where there were some petroglyphs. They look like a line of deer with hunters following them.
Here they are!
Joe allowed us to get our feet wet before we left the embankment. Imagine this! The air is about 100 to 110 degrees and the water was 40 to 50 degrees! The boys had a blast daring each other to go in. Their poor little feet were stinging from the cold!
Of course, a dad was there to offer a throw, which none of the boys wanted until he withdrew the offer. Funny!
We also went around a wide bend in the river that is known as The Horseshoe. It makes a complete 180+ degree turn back upon itself. It is HUGE and magnificent.
We will show you a few more photos of The Horseshoe tomorrow, from a bird's eye view!
One of the other boats in our convoy was driven by Shawn Martin. He is a Navajo Indian and one of our country's top long distance runners. He has brought many great honors to his family and tribe through his prowess as an athlete. His grandfather was one of the Code Talkers during World War II. Joe cajoled Shawn into playing his Native American flute for our group. In between the high canyon walls, it was absolutely heavenly. The sun had gone behind this section of the canyon walls, making it a shady, cooler spot. The sound of the plaintive song of the flute echoed through us and off the steep rock walls as we drifted silently on the waters.
Here we float along the shady side of the canyons. Joe had given us cloths to cool ourselves off. We dipped them in the frigid river water and put them across our shoulders. It was shockingly cold and shockingly pleasant!
Can you tell we are just tuckered out like crazy?! The sun sure takes a lot out of you, even when you are being chauffeured down the river on a raft.
At the end of the journey we approached Lee's Ferry. It is the last chance to leave the river before entering the Grand Canyon. If you go past it, you are in for some rapids!
The end of a lovely day!
Of course, we could not resist dinner at Zapata's before heading to our hotel room that night!
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